"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fat naked kids.

Putti is the Italian word for little boys, putto singular, putta for little girls - although it is rarely used because it is also short for puttana - which means whore.
Anyway - Christian art still uses putti, with or without diapers, to represent little angels, or cherubs. Proper Christian puritans have taken offense at their nakedness for centuries. Today is no exception. I think women especially are upset by poddies - as my brother and I called the male appendage when we were little. The fear isn't limited to women however. I once knew a Mexican fellow, a sacristan in Boston, who painted sashes over the naked crotches of the little putti rendering their assistance to the Madonna in a painting of her Assumption into Heaven. The pastor never noticed.
The depiction of putti in art dates back to pagan times, as does Christian iconography in general - early inculturation accommodated representation of pagan myth to accord with Christian revelation. The pagans considered putti to be the souls of children who died in infancy - pure, chaste little spirits, rollicking in the eternal bliss of paradise, watching over men and inspiring love and pleasure, helping them in their needs. Christians used them much in the same way - those depicted with wings were angels and even saints - those without were the souls of the unbaptized. (As St. Therese once said, "little children are never damned".) Their bodies, uncorrupted by the sins of the flesh, are gloriously represented in the perfect innocence of little infants... even if they are sometimes mischievous little cupids.
The French and Victorians are responsible for turning these little spirits into insipid, sweet, little sentimental Hallmark cards - all modestly covered up with pink and blue baby blankets, ribbons, or fluffy clouds - or - yuck - hearts.
Nevertheless, putti are more than all of that... they represent the souls of little children - even those millions upon millions who were never allowed to be born - many people call them fetuses - no form or figure or sex or personality...


  1. When I was in elementary school I attended a Baptist school. My last year there (7th grade) I was an office aide. I was sent to the Post Office (a block away) to pick up stamps. It was near Valentine's Day, and it was sleeting. When I returned to the school office with the stamps, I was sent back into the sleet again to return to the Post Office to exchange the stamps.

    The school wouldn't send out correspondence with "naked baby stamps."

    I sh*t you not.

  2. Thank you for this post...I forgot that I asked you about it a week or two ago. Very interesting.

    I often wonder about the souls of miscarried, aborted, or SIDS babies. Are they forever children as the putti depict? Are they adult souls who never saw their earthly bodies grow? Very thought-provoking.

  3. I love the naked babies. Holy and pure little ones. I think nothing of the nudity which is correct thinking of a healthy christian but even so I would rather babies be covered up because even though you and I have the utmost love and respect for the little ones and this stuff doesn't matter, many other people do not. I want babies protected from pervs and I want them covered even fictional ones because inside of some human minds can lurk some pretty creepy thoughts where upon some do act.

    It's for the protection of real children.


    49 million dead....Unbelieveable. I don't see how a nation could ever make this up to God or to the babies....ever and I don't belive that God will hold his justice back much longer.

    A Catholic singing star just became pregnant with an embryo that had been frozen 6 years ago. Weird that her children were concieved at the same time yet born several years apart.

  4. TheSeeker, I doubt that souls unencumbered with bodies look like anything we can imagine.

  5. Mr.Terry , I told you that bad things could happen..


    *I was looking at national park posters.

  6. Nan, I think you're right on that...isn't it wonderful? :-) I was just wondering if they were any different. Probably not.

  7. TheSeeker, they're all there, praying for us. Hoping we learn from their sacrifice.


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